(UN)HAPPY ANNIVERSARY FOR HOT MESS OF A TENDER PROCESS
Tomorrow marks one year since the Liberal Government announced it was considering ripping the Department of Immigration out of Belconnen.
After 365 days, multiple community forums and thousands of signatures petitioning the Government to keep the department where it is, we are no closer to getting answers about Immigration’s future.
Worse, the entire process has now been jeopardised by the Liberals’ apparent decision to exploit the tender for their own financial gain.
Why the sharing economy offers a brighter future for Australian cities, Business Insider, 24 September
You might not be familiar with the names Michael Nuciforo and Robert Crocitti, but they’re the kind of blokes you want to have around when you’re trying to solve a tricky problem. They’re the creators of ParkHound, an app that lets you find and hire private parking spaces in busy metropolitan areas. They decided to start the company after circling around East Melbourne on the hunt for parking near the MCG before an AFL game.
As they tell it: “We drove past parked car after parked car, after….empty space that required a parking permit. There were dozens of empty garages and driveways right near the ground. It then hit us. Wouldn't it be great if we could just knock on someone’s door and ask to park at their place for a small fee? The more we thought about it, the more it made sense. We don’t need more parking spaces, we just need to utilise the parking spaces we already have.”
ParkHound is just one of dozens of new app-based services that have sprung up recently in the so-called sharing economy. While the kinds of services offered differ, fundamentally they all link people who have surplus goods to those who can make use of them.
In thinking about the rise of services like ParkHound, AirBNB and even the controversial Uber, it strikes me that the sharing economy has great potential to help us address some of the big challenges our cities face. As Australia’s cities continue to grow, issues like congestion and the use of space are becoming increasingly urgent. The mounting pressure on our built environment puts the people who live in it under pressure too.
EVEN BIG BUSINESS WANTS MORE TAX TRANSPARENCY, WHY DOESN’T TURNBULL?
BHP Billiton’s decision to voluntarily publish an in-depth report on its tax affairs shows the Abbott-Turnbull Government is going the wrong way in its efforts to gut Australia’s tax transparency laws.
BHP has recognised that the community expects and demands greater tax transparency these days, and is taking positive steps to provide this.
Other major companies like Rio Tinto have also begun publishing information on the taxes they pay on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis in recent years. The Senate’s corporate tax inquiry has recommended more transparency to hold companies accountable for their tax dealings.
WEDNESDAY, 23 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Government confusion over tax white paper; Revenue and spending; Women in politics.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks for coming along today. It's been reported that the tax white paper process is in jeopardy. This is a tax white paper which was announced before the 2013 federal election, and one that Tony Abbott promised would produce concrete policy proposals by 2016. There have been 18 people in the Treasury working on it, and five more in the Minister's office. There have been millions of dollars spent by business, community sector groups and the Treasury itself in preparing the tax white paper, and the Government has so far spent $650,000 publicising it. The suggestion that this tax white paper could be completely junked in a 'captain's call' from Malcolm Turnbull will be extraordinarily disappointing for the many Australians who participated in good faith in this tax white paper process.
I also want to make a couple of remarks about reports on the China Free Trade Agreement today. For all Malcolm Turnbull's statements about bipartisanship, he seems to have fallen disappointingly short when it comes to the China Free Trade Agreement. Labor's concerns about the China FTA are not around the trade portions of this agreement. This is, after all, an agreement that Labor helped to negotiate. All we're calling for is for proper labour market testing for projects over $150 million, making sure that we have proper safety and skills safeguards, and that we see foreign investment increasing Australian jobs and boosting wages – not reducing jobs and driving down wages. Happy to take any questions.
WEDNESDAY, 23 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Tax reform; Labor’s positive plans for innovation and education.
STEVE CHASE: We're hearing a lot from the new Cabinet under Malcolm Turnbull about re-setting policies. That puts pressure on the ALP, especially on the issue of raising the rate of the GST, which the Labor Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, wants.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Steve, Labor strongly welcomes a conversation about ideas - that's exactly where our policy should be. We shouldn't be trading slogans and insults. That's not edifying for the Australian people and it's not good for the job we do. On the conversation about the GST, Labor's considered view is that raising the GST wouldn't improve either efficiency or equity, which are two of the key touchstones when you're looking at tax reform. The Treasury's own tax white paper puts the cost to the economy of the GST at about the same level as income tax. So it's not this fabulously efficient tax as some would have you believe, but it is a tax that falls disproportionately on those at the bottom of the distribution. I think one of the attractions of raising the GST has been that people have thought they could spend the money on a whole lot of almost mutually exclusive things. Social services groups have sometimes argued that you can give it all back as transfers and tax cuts to the bottom; Mike Baird has been arguing for spending it on health; Joe Hockey used to argue for spending it on cutting federal taxes and others to use it for cutting state taxes. But you can't do all those things with a GST rise.Read more
NO COMMENT’ IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR DUTTON’S LIBERAL FUNDRAISER
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has serious questions to answer about hosting a Liberal fundraiser attended by those bidding for a multi-million dollar contract with his department.
On 1 September, Mr Dutton and Liberal Senator Zed Seselja held a $995 per head dinner at Canberra’s Boathouse Restaurant. Six of the 11 guests are reported to have been representatives of the companies vying for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s new accommodation contract.
It has also been alleged that the tender was the subject of discussion between the Minister and his guests during the event.Read more
SKY AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Ministerial reshuffle; Labor’s future plans for higher education.
DAVID LIPSON: Here in the studio is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh – thanks very much for joining us this morning. Has Malcolm Turnbull stolen Labor's narrative by this Ministerial reshuffle with a big focus on renewal and innovation?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Well David, it would be hard to produce a worse line-up than the previous Abbott Cabinet. But I certainly think that Labor's line up is more than a match for the current set of ministers. Just to give you a few examples: Gary Gray, in the resources portfolio, knows that sector deeply and will be more than a match for Josh Frydenberg. Chris Bowen, with his understanding of economics and the long-term history of economic policy-making, will easily be able to take on Scott Morrison. Richard Marles' sense of the institutions in immigration and his deep well of compassion are certainly going to be more than a match for Peter Dutton.Read more
TOO MUCH INFORMATION? COMPANIES LIST IS ALREADY ONLINE
Today’s release of the IbisWorld Top 500 Private Companies list shows the Government’s arguments against tax transparency are simply a fig leaf for shielding big firms from scrutiny.
Under Australia’s existing transparency laws, the tax office is required to publish information about the income and tax paid for companies earning over $100 million. The first report is due out by December this year.
The Government has a bill before Parliament to gut these laws by carving out private companies. They argue the transparency requirements expose too much information about these firms.
TURNBULL AS BEREFT OF IDEAS AS TONY
The Turnbull Government has today shown that the policy vacuum of Tony Abbott’s leadership continues unabated.
Instead of seizing the day to progress important issues like marriage equality or violence against women, Malcolm Turnbull’s MPs wasted more than four hours of the Parliament’s time droning on about the Omnibus Repeal Day Bill 2015.
Speaker after speaker lined up to sing the praises of a Bill which replaces the term ‘reference base’ with ‘index reference period’ in 31 acts, and boldly updates ‘Chairman of Committees’ with the more PC ‘Chair of Committees’ in the Public Works Committee Act 1969.
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 16 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Joe Hockey’s uncosted multinational tax plan; tax transparency; effects test.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks everyone for coming along today. Multinational tax avoidance has been a big issue in the Australian public eye this year. We know that many Australian firms and individuals do the right thing and pay their taxes. So they are justifiably outraged when they see reports about big multinationals not paying their fair share of tax. Today we saw Joe Hockey, after two years of bluff and bluster, announce a multinational package into the Parliament. It was a package so vague that his own Treasury can't cost it. Here's what the budget measure looked like in the budget: it's just a series of asterisks. No revenue estimates are attached to Mr Hockey's multinational tax package.